so what’s a mom for?

There’s a little guy who comes to our clinic for counseling. My co-worker has been seeing him for quite a while. He’s a brave kid who has experienced stuff that makes my stomach hurt to think about. He’s been working on some activities with my co-worker that led to him writing a letter to his mom. In the letter he outlined some of the stuff that happened to him… stuff that she couldn’t and therefore didn’t protect him from. He told her about some of the things he needed from her that he didn’t get and asked her this question: So what’s a mom for?

I can’t get it out of my head.

So what’s a mom for?

To protect just enough,but not too much. To discipline just enough, but not too much. To help just enough, but not too much. And who gets to determine what is just enough and not too much?

Evan cries almost every time I drop him off at the babysitter, or preschool, or Sunday School.

“But Moooomm. I just want to stay with YOOUUUU.”

And what I want to do is pick him up and take him straight home to sit with me on the couch and snuggle.

But I don’t. And I hate it.

Noah is entering the “Seriously, Mom, don’t let anyone hear you say that when I’m with you.” stage. He’s totally embarrassed by us on a regular basis. Sometimes he finds my behavior appropriate. Sometimes he doesn’t. And I hate it.

When I was little I remember telling my mom how amazing it was that when I was cold, her hands were warm. And when I was hot, her hands were cool.  Now, I’m pretty sure she didn’t have the ability to alter her body temperature according to my needs. She probably stayed consistent and her hands felt comforting when I needed them to.

So maybe that’s what a mom is for.

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christmas and five

First of all, Happy  Birthday to Evan. He is five today. Five. He is a wonderfully delicious gift from God. Tonight he has requested that we eat at Chuck E Cheese (which he pronounces Chuckecheesus, the end sounding a lot like Jesus). Deep breath. Only for you, Buddy.

(ps..the black eye is a Be-careful-where-you’re-walking-when-your-older-brother-is-playing-Wii injury.)

We said goodbye to my parents and Luke and Sherry yesterday after a few days of Christmas cheer. It was very fun to have the stateside family here. We got to Skype with Chad and Amanda twice, which we’ll take since it’s the closest we’re going to get until summer when they come for a visit. Can’t wait to have all the cousins together again. They do so well. We attempted pasta carbonara (sp?) a la Amanda one night for dinner. We also spent part of Christmas Day with at Toby’s parents’ with EVERYONE. I am incredibly blessed to have a family where both sides can hang out together and enjoy it.

Noah opening his DSi. So exciting.

Poor Brek. Christmas is exhausting.

Mom in her pretty new Christmas sweater

G-Man. The life of the party.Puzzles and games, puzzles and game.Bethlehem Used Cars. It’s how the Wise Men afford such nice gifts.And an early Christmas present…our new dog, Zoey. (More like the cat’s gone and now Mom will agree to another dog.)

I have a great sense of relief starting the new year as I was able to pass my social work clinical licensure exam (LCSW) last week, which isn’t a big deal to people outside the social work world, but means kind of a lot to those in it. It feels like finally being grown up. AND it qualifies me for a student loan repayment program, which is great.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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mothers and sons

I’m crazy about my boys. They are smart, funny, tender-hearted boys. I have no complaints about being the mother of boys. There are times, however, when I wonder about a few things (really important things) like: Aren’t daughters the ones who usually run their elderly mothers around to things like hair appointments and discretely pluck unattractive chin-whiskers when the mothers are in the nursing home? Who is going to do that kind of stuff for me?

A few days  ago Evan and I stopped at a fast-food restaurant for lunch. He found us a table and proudly sat there while I ordered and made frantic motions at him to sit down when he got too excited and started jumping on the seat. We happily sat together and talked amidst face wiping and standing in line again to get another packet of honey-mustard dressing.

At the same time, a man walked in with what looked like his elderly mother. He sat her down at a table and ordered their food. He got her napkins and comfortably opened her salad dressing for her. They talked companionably and he seemed happy to answer her questions. The man looked like the type who usually wears a suit and tie, but had a day off and was taking his mom to lunch. It looked like they were used to this routine. No hesitation or stiffness on his part. They seemed to be enjoying themselves.

As if the book I Love You Forever was being played out at the Nampa Wendy’s. I found myself looking forward to many more lunches with my sons.

In reflecting on this experience, I have to trust that things like hair appointments and chin-whiskers will be taken care of when the time comes. In the meantime, perhaps I should start investing in Lazar  hair removal.

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waiting for rudy

Pets are good practice for life. They teach us the value of companionship and devotion. They give us a chance to take care of something that needs us. They remind us that if we do not take care of them, our mothers might get rid of them and not feel sorry for us when we realize that the pet is gone two weeks later. (Not that my brothers and I ever had this experience with a guinea pig named Peanut.)

Last weekend our cat Rudy disappeared. We’re not exactly sure when it happened. We had a house-full of people and it’s normal in those situations for him to hide-out until the house is back to normal. Anyway, he’s still not back. I miss that dumb cat. More importantly, Noah misses that dumb cat. He runs into the house after school to see if Rudy has returned. He insists that  all the closet and cupboard doors stay open just in case Rudy is stuck and will eventually come sauntering out. He prays at dinner that Rudy will be safe wherever he is and come back soon. He asks tough questions about why God hasn’t answered his prayers about Rudy in the way he was intending the prayers to be answered.

It kind of stinks.

But it’s probably the first of many conversations about unfair things happening and living with unanswered questions.

That kind of stinks too.

Maybe Rudy will return and we’ll get to imagine the grand adventure he’s been on for the last week.  Maybe he won’t.

I remember burying pets in the back yard as a kid. I remember it hurting all the way down to my toes. I don’t want my kids to feel that way. But sometimes pets run away, and I can’t stop it.

That kind of stinks the most.

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We’ve made it to September and I find myself somewhat sentimental about the season change we seem to be experiencing in our family.

Noah started 3rd grade and is loving it. He has a fantastic teacher who says she appreciates his “enthusiasm.” What more could a parent ask for? His teeth are finally filling in the big gaps in his mouth (which comes with the realization that, holy cow, we’d better start saving for braces), his legs are long and skinny and his feet are stinking huge. Toby was folding socks the other night and pulled out a pair of baby socks that somehow keep cycling through the wash. He told me it was time to do some “sorting” of the socks. I couldn’t quite make myself throw them away. He has to read out loud each day for a certain amount of time. Last night he was reading to me in his bed before he went to sleep and I looked over and made the realization that he has almost finished a 400 page book…on his own. And I’m happy about that. Mostly.

Evan starts preschool tomorrow. He CANNOT wait to go to school. He’s sure he will have homework, like Noah. For all our sake, I sure hope they give him something. 🙂 The new mantra for that boy is “I can do it BY MY SELF.” He’s figured out how to buckle his own seat belt and we now can just go out to the car and I only worry about getting myself in. It’s been over 8 years since I have been able to do that. What will I do with all the spare time?

The summer was a great time. I got to spend some family-less days in Illinois with my dear friend from college, Andie. It was refreshing and rejuvenating, and I was ready to come back home afterward.

We got to go to Colorado and even intersected for a few days with Luke and Sherry and the kids. Cousin time is always fantastic. We are blessed.

Warning: I didn’t realize how many pictures were sitting on the camera from the last couple of months.

Welcome to a Schmidt Family Fourth of July. Each child is given a quadrant of the car, which is how we train them to get it really clean. It’s funny that I just said “we”. They’ve long since given up on me, but there still may be hope for the next generation.

This was during Evan’s cowboy boots phase. The sweat band is just pure Evan.

Same story here.

A Sunday afternoon with the Schmidt boys

Noah’s favorite position: Catcher

They’re still small enough to fit in the same chair.

A trip to the Denver zoo and Imax with Grandma

Fishing with the cousins

Playing cars

First day of 3rd grade.

Finally, the Ninja Turtles came to help clean. So nice of them.

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summer update

We’ve finally hit some warmer summer weather. Nothing huge to report, but here are some tidbits:

We started out the summer getting to hang out with these cuties while their mom and dad went out of town for a night. Evan and Lukey ready for bed

So are Ian and his puppy.

And this little Libby is totally delicious.

I made brownies the other night and left the batter bowl on the counter. Later I walked into the kitchen and couldn’t find it. Little thieves in their hideout:

Noah and Toby went to camp this last week:

The Turtle Cabin

Evan is now way into dressing himself. No help please.

A little chillaxin’ in the pool:

And today it was finally warm enough to join them…Here I am with a strategically placed child in front of the swim-suited body. Bleh. Always remember: Tan flab is better than white flab.

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Something I’ve learned from many of my blogging heroes is that it is necessary for one to share his/her sewing adventures. Now, first of all, you sewers…I envy you. You can walk into a fabric store and not feel your stomach knot up in anxiety. You maintain your attention long enough pick out a project and actually see it through. When I look at items in a craft or fabric store I  have a fleeting “wow, that’s cool” thought quickly followed by “that’ll look good with the rest of my unfinished projects in the corner of the closet.” reality check.  Not only that, but you are somehow able to not only complete the project in spite of your families and busy lives but also document individual steps on camera. Amazing.

So, in some rare twist of fate, our family ended up in the creepy town mall last weekend at the fabric store picking out the materials to make fleece blankets for the boys. Evan’s was a pretty simple take two squares of fleece, cut around the edges, and tie them together. Noah’s however turned out to be a little more  complicated. He wanted these:

sewed on a piece of camouflage fleece. Now…I realize that this just involves cutting them out and sewing straight lines, but I had to dig out this:

my sewing machine I purchased from a neighbor’s yard sale about 3 years ago. I’ve actually only used it once. It’s also never been serviced and really needs it. This seemed like a pretty overwhelming task, but once I consulted this guy:

Neil, from Youtube, who helped me through the process of threading the machine, I was ready to go.  He’s a little on the scary side, but  at this point I didn’t have the luxury of being picky.

My other hurdle was trying to use these:my kitchen shears previously used for cutting paper, packages, chicken carcasses, etc. which makes them not exactly sharp enough to cut a straight line out of fleece. Much cursing ensued.

I got about 1/2 of the patches sewed on:before the my only threaded bobbin ran out. Drat. I was afraid I’d have to consult Neil again, but luckily my mother in law was on her way over for another reason, and since she was the one who threaded it three years ago when she tried to give me a sewing machine tutorial, I was saved. (She says she’s giving me an F for retention). I was really hoping that she could thread the bobbin without looking at the actual blanket. It was just really that bad. The kind, kind woman made some comments about how my machine must have something wrong with and played with it for a while. (Yeah…it was totally the machine that was the problem.)Before she left she offered to have me come over and use her machine if I needed it.

In the end,  my highly talented mother and sister-in-law took over the project, and had it completed (on my mother in law’s machine) in less than an hour….including taking all of the old patches off and sewing them back on. Ha.

Now the sewing macing is packed away again for who knows how long. I really should take it to get tuned up, but after this last experience I’m not highly motivated to try again. I think I’ll work on developing my other hobbies: napping and watching television…I’d hate for those to get rusty.

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